Owner (a crew member is also recommended) needs to work through the relevant Blue Book (not just the form) and ensure they have all the required equipment, that it is in good and working condition and if necessary, has been serviced and/or is in date (in particular - flares, medical items, fire extinguishers, personal floatation devices, life rafts).
The correct Equipment Audit form needs to be completed in full (items initialled) and lodged with the Sailing Office, via the TES online entry system.
The Sailing Office, on submission of a completed declaration/audit form may contact division auditors and schedule the inspection.
Before the inspection, the owner (and crew member, recommended) should layout all of the equipment from its normal storage position for ease of inspection.
Pass or fail, the Equipment Audit form is returned to the Sailing Office. Boats who do not pass their audit inspection for Category 7 audits will have 30 days to do so, for Category 1-6 audits 60 days. Failure to do so will result in a boat requiring to re-book their audit for a full inspection.
Copies of completed (pass) forms can be provided for inclusion in other club’s race entries but the original remains on file with the Sailing Office. A boat will not be allowed to compete until it has a valid declaration/audit form lodged with the Sailing Office.
The safety of the boat and her crew is the sole responsibility of the owner, or owner's representative, who shall do their best to ensure that the boat is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by experienced crew who have undergone appropriate training and, are physically fit to face bad weather.
Neither the use and application of the Special Regulations, nor an audit, in any way diminishes the complete and unlimited responsibility of the owner or owner's representative.
It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that all crew know the location of equipment on the boat, and how to use or deploy the equipment, for example how to use flares, wear and use PFDs, set storm sails, and know how to conduct man overboard recoveries. Crew training is part of the process of achieving safe sailing.
All equipment for all crew necessary to comply with the Special Regulations category of event, as notified in the Sailing Instructions or Notice of Race/Cruise, shall be maintained on the boat for the event at all times. Additional equipment may be specified by the Club for particular events. Some events require additional crew qualifications, for example, First Aid, Safety and Sea Survival Courses, and crew experience.
Equipment auditors are volunteers who freely give their time to assist owners and the Club maintain our excellent safety record. All auditors own their own boats and have many sea miles under their belts but are usually keen to get a few more, so their time is precious.
All auditors are accredited by Yachting NSW and are appointed by the Club’s Board. Only National Equipment Auditors (NEA) can undertake Yachting Australia Special Regulations 'Blue Book' Category 1 and 2 audits and Cruising Regulations 'Green Book' Ocean and Long Coastal audits. Where possible two auditors should conduct these more complex audits and one must be a National Equipment Auditor.
Recognise that an auditor’s time spent on your boat takes away time spent on their own.
Plan and be prepared. At the end of the day we should all take the safety of ourselves and those we are responsible for seriously. Take time to do it properly.
Work from the book, not the form. Only use the form as your final checklist.
If in doubt – ask. There are a number of auditors who have the time to do “pre audits” or answer specific questions. If it is your first time or you are stepping up to a higher category, help is available. The Sailing Office can put you in touch.
Make sure your boat has all the equipment laid out before the auditor arrives.
Pay attention to detail, you will be asked what expires first in your medical kit so be ready. Note the expiry date of your flares and extinguishers as well.
Keep a log/diary of things that need attention during the currency of your certificate.
Remember that it is important that your crew knows where everything is and how to use it. This means you need to consider formal training and must undertake regular drills such as donning PFD’s and "man overboard" drills.
Don’t be late for your inspection. Auditors are instructed to skip boats where the owner is absent.
Don’t just tick off items on your audit form without actually locating them on your boat.
Don’t schedule an audit half an hour before expecting to leave and participate in an event for which you need the Equipment Audit signed off.
Don’t leave your preparation to the last minute. Servicing of fire extinguishers and PFD’s takes days, sometimes weeks, and your item may not pass requiring another trip to replace it where Murphy’s Law says it will be out of stock.